You’re in a coffee shop with a total stranger — no form of protection on you in case he’s a vengeful murderer and you’re zoning out wondering if you left the stove on or not. You’ve once again stumbled into another bad date.
You’re probably wondering if you should go on a second date with this person. They haven’t proven to be the worst person in the world, but you’re just not having fun.
How can you save yourself the time — maybe even the money — trying to figure out if they’re the one or a face to never see again?
The biggest test for compatibility is if a person can make me laugh. Humor is such an important aspect of personality because it shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously. Anyone who is too serious about anything will eventually explode in your face. Also, if your humor matches mine, likely the rest of our personalities will as well.
In conversation, if they don’t let you talk at all or ask any questions about your life, that is a big red flag. Also it’s just not fun to listen to someone monologue about — or even worse — mansplain random things to you.
Lastly, music taste is a very good way to find similarities with a person or get a read on their character. For example, if they say they like R. Kelly — get out of there! But music is a great initial bonding topic. It lends the conversation to other things like concerts and pop culture — it can really connect you to the core of someone’s personality.
Not everyone’s the best conversationalist on the first date, so it’s not always fair to hold them to such high standards. There’s still a lot of ways to read a person’s personality within the first impression.
For instance, when you order your food, do they treat the waiter nicely? Because if they don’t, that means they might not see other people as equals.
Also if they don’t tip well — or worse — they don’t tip at all. Automatic red flag.
While we’re on the topic of money, paying on the first date is always a topic of concern. A good rule of thumb is that if only one person is paying, it should be the person who did the asking out. But, if I end up paying and it looks like you had no concern for my financial stability in the process, I am going to dock you a couple points.
Personally, I hate debating this topic which is why for the first date or even the first couple, I keep it to things that are easy to split.
Going out for coffee is always good because you can each buy your own without feeling obligated to pay for the other. Even if you do end up paying for the date, you’re really only out 10 to 15 dollars.
Now, what if you want to leave the date early but you don’t want to seem rude? The easiest solution is to have a friend that knows you’re going on this date. Text them when the date starts and then have them call you halfway through. If the date is good, send them to voicemail and they’ll know you’re having fun.
If the date is bad, pick up the phone and make sure they know that they have to be wailing on the other side of the phone with some fake emergency that requires your presence immediately. Now you have an excuse to leave and you don’t have to feel rude about it.
In general, being a little more alert when you’re on a date with a stranger is always a good thing — mainly for security reasons — but it’s also good to pick up on all the good and bad signs early on.
To all the courageous people out there who are taking on the battlefield of dating — good luck. To those who choose to stay out of it — smart move.